A point guard in college at Louisville and with the Boston Celtics during his first four NBA seasons, Terry Rozier reinvented his game with the Charlotte Hornets, developing into a premier three-point marksman and one of the league’s most active off-ball movers who flies off of screens and cuts with neck-breaking quickness.
In his eighth year as a pro, Rozier will be called upon to harken back to some of his old habits and tendencies. The Hornets need insurance at point guard with only an injured LaMelo Ball and recent Two-Way signee Theo Maledon on the depth chart at the position, and Rozier is equipped to provide that in a way others on the roster are not.
A factor in what made Devonte Graham’s breakout campaign significant was how poor the Hornets were offensively when Graham sat, partly due to Rozier’s ineffectiveness as the leas guard in those minutes. Since that season, though, he’s steadily improved as a playmaker, showing veteran guile as he snakes around ball-screens and hits the open shooter or rolling big that can only be gained through years of experience as an NBA guard. Rozier hasn’t been a traditional point guard since his Boston days, but he’s become quite capable as a secondary initiator and his measured pace as an open court ball-handler is an interesting contrast to Ball.
Rozier averaged 19.3 points, 4.3 rebounds and 4.5 assists per game last season. While the Hornets dealt with COVID-19 absences and injuries during that dreadful mid-season skid, Rozier put up nine or more assists five times, including a season-high 11 assists against Detroit on Feb. 11. As is the case with every Hornet in the rotation, there will be more opportunities to produce than last season. If any player were to take advantage, one of the league’s most efficient volume shooters has to be a leading suspect.
After back-to-back seasons shooting above 52 percent from mid-range, it seems like the one-to-three-dribble pull-up has fully become a part of Rozier’s scoring arsenal. This year, growth may show itself in his adaptability and willingness to play whatever role necessary for the team to win games more so than skill development, but it would be exciting to see Rozier use his smart, decisive cuts to create a couple more easy shots at the rim each game. The veteran has already gotten so much better in purple and teal. Now, it’s his turn to serve as a steadying presence both on the court and in the locker room and help his younger teammates get better.
Terry Rozier, Charlotte Hornets starting point guard once again. Everything comes full circle, doesn’t it?